Showing posts with label World War One. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War One. Show all posts

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Red Baron: Remembering a 100 Year Milestone

By Joy Neighbors

Tomorrow, September 17, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Red Baron’s first air combat victories during World War One. An odd milestone to remember, but what makes it newsworthy is that the family members of First World War fighter ace, Manfred von Richthofen, and his first victims, Captain Tom Rees and Second Lieutenant Lionel Morris will be meeting to commemorate the day together.

Manfred von Richthofen
Von Richthofen, also known as The Red Baron because of the bright red color of his Fokker aeroplane, transferred from the German cavalry to the air corps in 1915. On September 17, 1916, Manfred von Richthofen was flying with his Jasta 11 squadron near the town of Marcoing when he saw a group of British bombers. He attacked and shot down one of the British planes. Twenty-one year old gunner, Captain Tom Rees died immediately. Second Lieutenant Lionel Morris was wounded and died in a German hospital at the age of 19.

Replica of Schnapps Cup
In honor of his adversaries and to commemorate his first victories, von Richthofen had a silver schnapps cup made which listed the enemy plane involved and the date of the action. He would then drink a toast to his opponents. In all, von Richthofen commissioned over 60 cups before silver became a prime commodity in Germany. Very few of the cups still survive.

The Red Baron was Germany’s most famous fighter pilot during the war. He was credited with a total of 80 kills between September 17, 1916 and April 21, 1918 – the day he was shot down and killed.

Lionel Morris
Tom Rees
Tomorrow, the family members of Morris, Rees and von Richthofen will gather to share a schnapps toast from a replica of the original cup to honor the three airmen, and to mark the centenary of that fateful day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

100 Years Ago - First Aerial Bombing Raid On Britain

One hundred years ago World War One was gaining momentum across Europe. But on the evening of January 19, 1915 the war took a turn that made all participants realize it was not going to be like any other war.

On the night of January 19, three German Naval Zeppelins, L3, L4 and L6 were to carry out the first strategic bombing raid, but airship L6 had mechanical problems and had to turn around. Dirigibles L3 and L4 proceeded on toward the target, the town of Humberside, but strong winds forced the raid to end quickly, so the Zeppelins sought targets of opportunity on which to unload their bombs.

The towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn on the eastern coast of England were hit, instead. Four people were killed when bombs fell from the sky: Martha Taylor and Sam Smith died in Great Yarmouth, Alice Gazely and Percy Goate were killed in King’s Lynn that night; the first aerial bombing raid had been completed.

Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin
The first idea for a Zeppelin came about in 1874 and was built in 1893. Germany embraced and patented the balloon in 1895. (The U.S. issued a similar patented in 1899.) Named for its inventor, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, the rigid steel-framed airship was propelled with a motor and carried a crew of about 20, along with massive amounts of hydrogen gas for fuel. The dirigible was first used to carry passengers between German cities in 1910. But the Zeppelin was temperamental and not sturdy in high winds; it could be brought down by any adverse weather and most ended their careers crashing to the ground due to high winds and bursting into flames.

Zeppelin Caught in Spotlights
Since the Zeppelin did not stand up well to being fired at (hydrogen gas was extremely flammable), the Germans decided to use the dirigibles for bombing villages and towns that did not have weapons or military stations, thereby killing or wounding civilians in an attempt to lower the morale of the English.

Instead of lowering morale, such raids only re-enforced the British sense of outrage and united English citizens against the Germans. Most Londoners would rush out into the streets when an air-raid signal was given in order to cheer on the English pilots defending their country against the Germans in the air.

Although the dirigible could travel great distances, antiaircraft fire rendered the airship practically useless in war compared to the airplanes being used in battle.  By 1915, the main use of the Zeppelin was for reconnaissance over the Baltic and North Seas. By the end of the year, the German Navy had 15 airships in commission. The air raids continued into 1916. By 1917, the Zeppelin could now fly higher with an altitude of 16,500 feet and a ceiling of 21,000 feet, but high winds and engine problems continued to plague the ships. They were soon replaced by airplanes, which could carry more bombs, resulting in more deaths, injuries and damage.

In all, 84 Zeppelins were built by Germany during the war: over 60 were lost – half to accidents, weather and mechanical problems: the other half due to repercussions from the enemy. German Zeppelins took part in over 50 bombing raids on Britain during WWI, killing 557 people and injuring 1,358.

In the Treaty of Versailles it was stated that Germany could not keep any “dirigibles … dirigible sheds or shelters, or … plants for the manufacture of hydrogen.”

It would take a few years before Germany, again, became openly involved with the production of Zeppelins, this time for the purpose of carrying passengers and mail across the ocean, and around the world.

~ Joy

Friday, August 8, 2014

100 Facts about World War One - 100 Years After It Began

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. Here are 100 facts about that fateful war, 100 years after its beginning.

Ramp Up To War
1) The final trigger for the war came on June 28th when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were gunned down
Archduke Ferdinand

2) “The Black Hand,” a Serbian terrorist group, planned the murders

3) Serbian nationalist and Black Hand member, Gavrilo Princip was the assassin

4) The war had actually been a long time in coming; spanning four decades of diplomatic conflicts between Italy, France, Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia concerning political issues, the economy, and unresolved territorial disputes involving the Balkans


5) World War One was known as “The Great War”; The War to End All Wars; The War of the Nations, and is abbreviated as WWI
6) Great Britain and the British Empire declared war on Germany after the Central Powers invaded Belgium

7) The Central Powers were made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria

8) The Allied Powers were made up of Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, Rumania, Serbia, Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Montenegro, and, eventually, the United States

9) This was the first global conflict

War Facts
10) WWI lasted for 4 years - from 1914 to 1918

11) WWI changed the way war was fought and influenced the way future wars would be fought
12) 65 million soldiers fought during WWI

13) It was the sixth deadliest conflict in world history

14) Soldiers came from over 40 countries and numerous colonies

15) Russia marshaled 12 million fighting troops: this was the largest army in the war

16) Of those 12 million, more than ¾ of the men were killed, wounded or MIA

17) More than 10 million soldiers died; 6 million for the Allies and 4 million for the Central Powers
Mata Hari

18) That equates to over 6,000 deaths every day during the war

19) Another 21 million were wounded

20) Mata Hari’s name was Margaretha Zelle, a Dutch exotic dancer

21) She was executed in France in 1917, accused of being a spy

Air Warfare
22) WWI was the first war to be fought in the air
Air War

23) Over 65,000 aircraft had been produced by the end of the war

24) Thirty-eight American volunteers fought in the French Air Service years before the U.S. entered the war

25) Their unit was known as the Lafayette Escadrille: One of the best fighting units on the Western Front

26) The Escadrille men flew more than 3,000 missions

27) Germany built 123 Zeppelin airships

28) Zeppelins flew more than 100 bombing runs on Great Britain

29) The title “Flying Ace” was bestowed on a pilot after he had downed 5 enemy aircraft

The Red Baron
30) The Allies Top Ace was Rene Fonck of France who shot down 75 enemy planes

31) Eddie Rickenbacker was America’s Top Ace with 26 kills

32) Manfred Von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron,” was Germany’s Top Ace with 80 kills

33) Richthofen died April 21, 1918 after being shot down near Amiens

34) WWI was the first time aircraft carriers were used in a war

Naval Warfare
35) WWI was the last war to feature defining naval battles
German U-Boat

36) In the Battle of Jutland, over 250 ships took part in the fight

37) Germany built over 400 U-boats during the war

38) Of those 400, Germany lost on 178 U-boats during the war

39) The Central Powers sank over 5,500 Allied and neutral ships

40) Most were sunk in the English Channel

RMS Lusitania
41) The most famous ship to be sunk during the war was the RMS Lusitania in 1915
RMS Lusitania

42) A German sub sank her on May 7, 1915

43) A total of 1,198 people died when the Lusitania sank

44) 128 were Americans

45) The Lusitania went down within 18 minutes
46) This single act propelled the U.S. into the war
46) The United States entered the war on April 6, 1917

47) During those 18 months, over 116,000 Americans were killed

48) And 204,000 American soldiers were injured

Ground Forces
49) 1.2 million soldiers died during the Battle of the Somme

Ssgt. York
50) 58,000 British soldiers died during the first day of the Somme Battle

51) The most decorated American solider of the war was Alvin York who received a medal of honor for leading an attack on a German gun nest; killing 28 German soldiers and capturing another 32

52) The Western Front was made up of 466 miles, which stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland

53) Over 2,500 miles of trenches were dug on The Front
In the Trenches

54) For every 4 inches of trench dug, there was one soldier to defend it

55) By the end of the war, over 200,000 men had lost their lives in the trenches

56) Trench foot was a major problem during the war

57) The British army had over 20,000 cases reported during the first year
Battle of Verdun

58) The trenches were crawling with rats and lice

59) In 1916, the Battle of Verdun resulted in over one million causalities – all within a 10-month time frame

60) The Germans were the first to use flame-throwers in the war
WWI Tank

61) The flames could go as far as 130 feet

62) Tanks were first used in WWI

63) Tanks were originally called “landships

64) The first tank prototype was named “Little Willie

Little Willie
65) British tanks were designated as male and female: male tanks had cannons; female tanks had guns

66) This was the first war where self-powered machine gun use was widespread

67) Artillery weapons were responsible for 70% of all battlefield deaths

Big Bertha
68) Artillery barrages could be heard for hundreds of miles

69) The French had 75mm guns called “Devil Guns” by the Germans

70) Germany had a 48-ton Howitzer nicknamed “Big Bertha

71) Big Bertha could fire a 2,0050 pound shell almost 10 miles

Chemical Weapons
72) Germany had a total of 13 of these guns

73) WWI was the first time chemical weapons were used in war

74) France was the first country to use tear gas against the enemy in 1914

75) The following year, Germany was the first country to use poisonous chlorine gas against the enemy
Shell Shock

76) Over 30 different poisonous gases were used during the war

77) Over 1-million soldiers were gassed during the fighting

78) Of those, lose to 92,000 died

79) At the end of the conflict, most countries signed treaties, which outlawed the use of chemical weapons

80) More than half-a-million men died from mustard gas during the war

81) After the war over 80,000 British soldiers were diagnosed as suffering from shell shock

82) By the end of the war over 250,000 British soldiers had undergone at least one amputation

Spanish Influenza
83) The Spanish Influenza epidemic spread far and wide due in part, to WWI

84) By 1918, the U.S. Army had lost 60% of its soldiers to the flu

85) The U.S. Navy lost 40% of their men to the influenza

86) When the flu outbreak ended, at least a third of the soldiers had died from it

Other Causalities
87) Civilian deaths were over 6.6 million during the war

88) German soldiers shot and killed 150 civilians at Aerschot as part of their war strategy to incite terror in the public

89) Russia lost over 2 million civilians

90) During the four years of the war, 11% of France’s residents were either killed or wounded
Execution of Edith Cavell

91) A British nurse, Edith Cavell assisted 200 Allied soldiers in escaping from Belgium during the war

92) The Germans had her executed by a firing squad

93) Cavell’s death helped turn public sentiment against the Germans and the Central Powers

Sergeant Stubby
94) Over 1 million dogs died on WWI battlefields while scouting, acting as sentries or carrying messages

95) Dogs were also used to lay telegraph lines

96) The most decorated military dog during the war was Sergeant Stubby, a bull terrier mix 

97) Stubby took part in 17 battles and captured a German spy

WWI Poster
98) The war resulted in the loss of 8 million military horses

99) Over half-a-million carrier pigeons were used to carry messages along the front

100) After the war, a total of four empires collapsed: Germany, Ottoman, Austro-Hungary, and Russia

~ Joy